Our Staff

Johnna DeGrasse

Artistic Director & Owner

Johnna DeGrasse began her Russian Classical Ballet training at Virginia School of Ballet under the direction of Tatiana Rousseau Tupine and Oleg Tupine. Ms. Tupine was formerly with Le Ballet de Jeauness of Paris, and Mr. Tupine was formerly with the Ballet Russe. While studying with the Tupines, Johnna continued to broaden her studies with the Harkness School of Dance in New York City.

Johnna has performed at Constitution Hall, Lisner Auditorium, Water Gate Theater and Wolf Trap. Following her retirement from performing, DeGrasse Dance Studio was opened and she began devoting her career live to teaching, choreographing and bringing the arts to the community. The Potomac Ballet and Dance Company, which has been housed by DeGrasse Dance Studio for the past twenty years, has provided dancers of all ages with performance experience in classical Russian ballet, jazz, tap and musical theater.

Nickolai Balatsenko

Dance Instructor

Nickolai was born in the Ukraine and began his study of ballet at the Kiev Academy of Ballet when he was 11 years old. Nickolai's first professional position was with the National Ballet Usti nad Labem in the Czech Republic, where he stayed for three years before moving to the Donetsk Ballet after touring with the Ballet Classique of Paris. In 1999, he moved to the United States and joined Washington Ballet. He later danced with Ballet Theatre of Maryland and Ballet Internationale in Indianapolis, Indiana. He also toured Seoul, South Korea with Universal Ballet and danced with Atlantic Southeast Ballet in Charleston, South Carolina.

Faith Biddulph

Dance Instructor

Faith has danced since age 5 and has studied the discipline of Ballet to the professional level. She has taught classes in Ballet, Creative Movement, and more since age 16. Her training began in Virginia at Vostrikov's Academy of Ballet and continued at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet in Carlisle, PA and the Australian Dance Academy in Alice Springs, Northern Territory of Australia. She received the Marion Park Lewis Scholarship for the Arts at age 17 and a Fellowship in Dance to attend Southern Catholic College where she taught ballet classes, choreographed for performances in Ballet and Modern, joined and traveled with the dance team, and organized social dance events, while completing her double major and graduating Magna cum Laude. She danced first with the Virginia Youth Ballet and toured with the Duprada Dance Company in Australia, performing key roles including the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Swanhilda in Coppelia, a soloist Swan in Swan Lake, and Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty. Since returning to the United States Ms. Biddulph has taught at various studios as a guest and regular instructor, in Atlanta GA, Naples FL, and Williamsburg VA. This experience allowed her styling to become versatile and her technical core to be tested and strengthened. Now, she is delighted and thankful to continue the work here in Northern Virginia with Degrasse Dance Studio.

Teresa Kitchen

Dance Instructor

Teresa Kitchen began her training at DeGrasse Dance Studio when she was eight years old. She moved to Charlottesville to attend college where she expanded her dance training to jazz and modern dance at the University of Virginia. She continued her ballet training at Charlottesville Ballet under Louise Naughton and Craig Sterling, former principles of the Australian Ballet Company. During this time, she also participated in summer programs at Joffrey Ballet School and the Washington Ballet School.

After graduating from college with a B.A. in Biology and a certificate in teaching, Teresa returned to DeGrasse Dance Studio to dance and teach ballet. She has been an instructor at the school for sixteen years.

Brandi McAleese

Dance Instructor

Brandi McAleese began dancing at the age of 3. Throughout her teenage years, she trained at several local studios, including Degrasse Dance Studio. After graduating from North Stafford High School, Brandi moved to Virginia Beach to continue her studies in dance at Denise Wall's Dance Energy. Brandi has studied and trained with many professional teachers and choreographers such as, Denise Wall, Travis Wall, Michelle Combs, Danny Tidwell, Ivan Koumaev, Jaimie Goodwin, Tara Foy, Jason Parsons, Tony Testa, Lauren Adams, Danny Wallace and many others. Brandi traveled to New York City to dance at The Sheraton New York for the New York City Dance Alliance Gala and The Hudson Theater for the ACE Dance Awards. Brandi also had the opportunity to perform at The Joyce Theater in New York City to help raise money and awareness for Dancers Responding to Aids. She has performed live with the Rascal Flatts at the Verizon Wireless Virginia Beach Amphitheater. Brandi is professionally trained in ballet, jazz, lyrical/contemporary, hip-hop, tap and musical theater and has received training in ballroom dancing, tumbling, acting and singing. Brandi recently made it through to "Vegas Week" on Season 7 of Fox's So You Think You Can Dance, finishing in the top 96 dancers out of thousands who auditioned for the show.

Tricia Quander

Dance Instructor

Tricia Quander started her love for dancing at age 4. She grew up dancing in her mother's dance studio and eventually started assisting classes. She danced on her high school dance team which was coached by the Captain of the Redskinetts. Tricia not only choreographed for her team which was nationally ranked, but was also asked to choreograph for the professional Redskinetts. Through junior high and high school Tricia continued to study Tap, Ballet, Jazz and Pointe at Star Maker dance studio. She was also asked to assist in choreographing for the entertainment dance shows at Busch Gardens.

After high school Tricia auditioned for All the Right Moves dance TV show. She became the commentator as well as a featured dancer for the show which filmed in NY. She also performed with UNITY, a dance company out of MD, in MD and DC. Tricia coached West Springfield High School dance team for many years and led them to several awards.

Tricia started teaching at Studio One School of Performing Arts where she taught jazz to their performing companies and won them many group and individual awards with her choreography. While teaching there she was given the opportunity to give back to the community and teach and perform for inner city youth. She was also asked to be a guest dancer with the Jam Crew dance company out of DC for several of there performances.

Tricia had the privilege to start teaching Jazz and Hip Hop at DeGrasse in 2005, and teaches Jazz. Tricia continues to consult, choreograph and judge for dance teams and other studios in the VA and MD area. Tricia truly loves all the children she has ever worked with and feels blessed to be able to continue doing what she loves... dance.

Wendy Richards

Dance Instructor

Wendy began her dance training at Degrasse dance studio at the age of six, and continued through high school. She had the opportunity to study at Pennsylvania Ballet at the age of 14, under the instruction of Lupa Serrano, Jeffery Gribbler and Gloria Govern.

While attending Radford University, where she worked to earn a Bachelor of Science in Dance, she studied under Frano Jelincic (former Ballet Master of English National Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet, Garden State Ballet, Hamburg Ballet, and The Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, Yugoslavia),and Dagmar Kessler (former ballerina with Pennsylvania Ballet, English National Ballet, Pittsburgh ballet Theater, and Hamburg Ballet, and who partnered with world renowned artist including Rudolf Nureyev, Peter Schauffuss, Edward Villella, Ted Kivitt, and John Gilpin). While at Radford Wendy danced many roles including Odette, Swanhilda , Flower Festival Pas De Deux, Snow Queen and Sugar Plum Fairy.

Wendy has also had training in jazz, hip hop, and lyrical. She was an instructor / Head Instructor for National Cheerleading Association, Dance and Pom division, right out of high school. With NCA she worked on Choreography for summer camps as well as college bowl game halftime performances including the Citrus Bowl, Cotton Bowl, and Peach Bowl. She was also a guest teacher and judge for a sister company JSDA in Japan. While at Radford she also coached and choreographed for the universities dance team, the RU Rockers.

Kelsey Timmerberg

Dance Instructor

Kelsey Timmerberg began dancing in Virginia Beach, Virginia at the age of two. Once she moved to Northern Virginia, she started her dance training at DeGrasse Dance Studio when she was seven under the direction of Roberta Dale, Johnna DeGrasse and Colette DeGrasse. Although tap has always been her favorite, Kelsey also trained in ballet, pointe, lyrical, jazz, acro, and musical theatre. She competed with DeGrasse from the age of eight to 18. At her High School, Bishop O'Connell, Kelsey was on the dance team all four years and was the team's Captain her senior year. While on the dance team she trained in pom, jazz, hip hop and kick. Starting in her Sophomore year, she became the team's choreographer and won many State and Regional titles with her routines. The team also qualified and participated at the National Dance Team Championship in Orlando, FL.

After High School, she went to & graduated from George Mason University with a degree in Organizational Communication and started her career in Human Resources from there. In recent years, Kelsey has decided to focus on her creative career & work full-time as an instructor and coach.

While in college, Kelsey started coaching her High School's dance team in 2006 and is now in her 10th year of coaching. She does all the team's choreography from pep rallies to competition routines. The Bishop O'Connell Royalettes have been going to the National Dance Team Championships in Orlando, Florida for the past nine consecutive years and in February 2013, with a dance choreographed by Kelsey the team was recognized as 21st in the nation!

In March of 2012, Kelsey came on as DeGrasse's tap teacher and continues the classical style of her mentor Roberta Dale. Since then, Kelsey has also added to teaching classes in jazz and hip hop. Kelsey choreographs for DeGrasse's competition team. Her routines have won many high adjudications and overall top score awards, while also being recognized for outstanding choreography and concept in certain routines. Students have used Kelsey's routines for and at events & auditions such as: National YoungArts Week, NYU Summer Intensive and World Dance Pageant. Two DeGrasse students have been given the Future Star Award with Kelsey's choreographed tap solos and have appeared in Dance Spirit Magazine. She loves inspiring and being inspired by the kids she teaches.